Wheel – Preserved In Time

After almost 8 years of silence German doomsters Wheel have come back with their 3rd full length album, “Preserved In Time.” Creating a sort of ‘uplifting doom’ style they take rather depressing lyrics and contrast that with very melodic vocal harmonies and catchy, chugging Sabbath-esque riffs. Basically, if one were to mix Candlemass, Primordial, and the cleaner parts of Mourning Beloveth together, it would be the perfect recipe for Wheel’s sound. This isn’t quite the usual stoner or gothic doom route but in general doom fans should find some part of this album they can really enjoy.

The vocals are a very big part of what makes this album so driving; one part heavy metal one part doom they are very harmonic and not quite as whiny or depressing as some doom bands can generate, and they go so well with the grimmer riffs that churn alongside it. Tracks like ‘At Night They Came Upon Us’ ooze along but also feature plenty of quiet moments with the darker, more melancholic single string guitar moments versus the heavier riffs. The production though is very well balanced so drums, bass, and vocals all feel even throughout without being buried by one another. Other tracks like ‘After All’ follows more of the standard Sabbath riffs which can tend to be a bit repetitive but maintain that rather depressive atmosphere without going too far into funeral doom territory. One thing that Wheel does very well is rely less on massive distortion and more on riff and vocal tone to convey their depression and gloom. Still, the lack of variation on a track like this compared to the others might turn some listeners away.

Wheel even tries to touch on a death doom a little (though it feels more like thrash doom) on a track like ‘Hero of the Weak’ by adding a harsher tone to the vocals, but at the same time aim for a better song structure with keeping the riffs basic but playing with the pace, just like they did on the first track, which should renew listener interest as opposed to the more repetitive, single paced style they did on some of the other tracks. The heavy metal style mixed with doom makes this one a head banger versus something to get entranced to or fall asleep. Then everything comes full circle with the dramatic epic closer ‘Daedalus.’ Like the opening track, Wheel grace us with both heavy and quiet moments strictly using guitar and some of the best melodic vocal work on the album. It almost feels symphonic without the symphonic elements, especially the way the vocals tend to hold out towards the end. As a result, this album is well worth the wait for those who know Wheel well, and for new fans it is an excellent piece of dramatic doom that takes a basic sound and capitalizes on its best elements.

4 / 5 STARS

Reviewer: Colin McNamara

Apr 29, 2021

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Wheel – Preserved In Time

review Wheel - Preserved In Time

1. At Night They Came Upon Us
2. When The Shadow Takes You Over
3. After All
4. She Left In Silence
5. Aeon Of Darkness
6. Hero Of The Weak
7. Daedalus

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